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Well, somebody has to go the other way. If you haven't looked at Slackware lately, give it a shot. The advances in the kernel and KDE and XFCE make it a really nice environment now. Yes, it still has an ncurses installer, and yes, it still boots (at least the first time) to a command prompt. But the installer really is easy, and it takes changing one number in one file to boot to a log-in screen.

Once you're in your desktop environment, the biggest difference you'll see is that Slackware is more responsive and more stable. KDE 4.4 in particular has the non-technical user covered. XFCE is easy too, but you might want to add some packages (which Robby Workman always seems to compile and have available on his site). Oh, and you should install WICD from the extra folder on the DVD if you use wireless.

Slackware also has slackpkg in by default now. You have to do it at the command line, but it updates the official packages with two simple commands.

Updating to a new release is still not as easy as a lot of other distros, but that's one of the bullets that most probably should bite and reinstall from scratch once a year or so. And if you don't want to I'm sure a Slackware install will continue working at least as long as the Ubuntu LTS version.

The thing is, Slackware still gives you vanilla packages, but the advances throughout the system have made vanilla a whole lot richer.

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